The Rachel Wischnitzer Collection contains correspondence, lecture notes, photographs, lantern slides, and negatives documenting Rachel Wischnitzer’s career as an art historian, curator, professor, consultant, and author. Also included are correspondence, records, and photographs pertaining to her husband Mark Wischnitzer’s work as a historian, editor, and Secretary General of the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden.
Rachel Wischnitzer née Bernstein was born in Minsk, Russia, on April 15, 1885, to Wladimir Bernstein and Sophie Bernstein née Halpern. Upon her graduation from Gymnasium in Warsaw in 1902, she studied at the University of Heidelberg (1902-1903), Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels (1903-1905), and the École Spéciale d'Architecture in Paris (1905-1907), from which she received her diploma in architecture. She then worked on the staff of the Evreiskaia Entsiklopediia (Russian-language Jewish Encyclopedia).
On June 5, 1912, Rachel Bernstein married Mark Wischnitzer, who served as one of the editors of the Russian Jewish Encyclopedia. Mark Wischnitzer (also Markus Wischnitzer and Mordko Wisznicer) was born in Rovno, Russia, on May 10, 1882. His parents were Jakob Lejba (also Jakob Leib and Leon) Wischnitzer and Fajga (Fanny) Wischnitzer née Kulikovitzer (Kulikowiczer). He attended the K.K. Kronprinz-Rudolf-Gymnasium in Brody from 1894 till 1901, then continued his studies at the University of Vienna and Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Berlin, from which he received his doctorate in 1906.
Mark Wischnitzer served in the Austrian Army during World War I, during which time Rachel Wischnitzer lived in Vienna and Berlin. After the war, the couple lived in London and then in Berlin, where Mark Wischnitzer was Secretary General of the Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden. The Wischnitzers also launched the companion art journals Rimon (Hebrew) and Milgroim (Yiddish), with Rachel serving as art editor and Mark serving as managing editor. The Wischnitzers' only child, Leonard James Wischnitzer (later Winchester), was born in Berlin on January 5, 1924.
The family emigrated to Paris in 1938; Rachel Wischnitzer and Leonard continued on to the United States in 1940, with Mark Wischnitzer following a year later. Rachel Wischnitzer returned to school, earning her master’s degree in 1944 and specializing in synagogue architecture; she taught fine arts at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women from 1956 until her retirement in 1968.
Mark Wischnitzer died October 15, 1955, in Tel Aviv, Israel. Rachel Wischnitzer died November 20, 1989, in New York.
The Leo Baeck Institute DigiBaeck project was supported in part by funds from the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) through the New York State Regional Bibliographic Databases Program.
Parts of this collection are not digitized due to either copyright or format.
Archival materials Correspondence Photographs
This material has been digitized to expand access while protecting the materials from degradation through physical handling. Access to the original materials in the reading room of the Center for Jewish History in New York City will only be granted to users who can demonstrate a legitimate research need to do so. Please submit requests to view original materials via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and include a description of your research project and an explanation of why access to the physical materials is necessary.